Memorable travel moments: African elephants

“They say that somewhere in Africa the elephants have a secret grave where they go to lie down, unburden their wrinkled gray bodies, and soar away, light spirits at the end.” Robert McCammon, Boy’s Life

One of the most exciting wildlife encounters I had was in Botswana, when a herd of about 100 elephants surrounded our safari truck.

I know, it sounds unbelievable; but we came across this herd just as they were coming in from bathing (and playing) in the Chobe River. The safest course of action was to stop the vehicle, turn off the engine, and just wait until they were gone. So we sat inside the truck, whispering excitedly as the entire herd came within a few metres of us.

The bull elephant, in the photo above, stopped right beside the truck and turned back, as if to look at us inside the vehicle. The silence was deafening.

I was looking through my camera and the elephant’s head filled the frame.

I took the shot. The shutter was extremely loud and I received a few anxious glares from my travel companions. But then, the moment was gone. The elephant moved away, his heavy bulk swinging lazily, following the rest of the herd.

This was a moment that I’ll never forget.

If you would like to read more about my encounter with elephants, click here.

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